A survival horror game focusing on little grey is just what the medium needs right now, as I’m fairly sure little focus has been put on his specific kind of alien. What could have been something interesting and scary turned out to be constantly frustrating and not terrifying in the slightest. I wanted to believe. I wanted to like it so much, but with a lack of direction or guidance, poor storytelling and acting, and unbalanced stealth and some poor controls make Greyhill Incident one to avoid.
Set in the early 90s, the residents of Greyhill are under the impression the government are covering up an invasion by extra-terrestrial life. You play as a guy called Ryan Baker, and his introduction to the story instantly highlights the weak acting and writing. Listening to a radio conversation between Ryan and a few of the locals, you’re provided with some idea of what’s going on, albeit done in a way that lacks any kind of interest in the characters.
What makes it worse it that Ryan’s son is an annoying brat who’s lying in front of the TV as you hear some strange goings on outside. The character animations are lifeless, and as you go back and forth looking for a crowbar to open the shed, he just remains there not seeming to understand the gravity of the situation. What makes this opening section worse is how you have no idea where to look for the crowbar, or even that it’s a crowbar you’re looking for, as the dark environment and lack of polish muddies your field of vision. Unfortunately, this lack of direction is a constant theme throughout.
Ryan wanders around Greyhill with no way points or markers, instead heading in various directions hoping to find whatever it is you’re looking for. It’s only when he says something along the lines of “I shouldn’t go that way” do you get any sense of where to go. It ruins the tension and makes for a painful loop of exploration, and I often found my time wandering around was filled with nothing but acute frustration. Maybe I missed something here, but there wasn’t a time when I ever felt as if I was doing the right thing until I luckily stumbled upon it.
The aliens are supposed to be the main enemy here, but in Greyhill Incident, the AI is. Sometimes they’ll spot you instantly and send you running away for a brief respite of peace, and other times they don’t see you at all, even when you’re in the same field of vision. It’s completely unbalanced, taking away the fear of getting caught. Even when you do get attacked, the animations are comical, but you can swat them with your baseball bat (that takes far too long to do successfully) or blast them with a revolver.
The stealth mechanics are poor. You can hide in a trash can or an outhouse, but there’s no way to know if you’re safe once re-emerging. Sneaking around is slow in Greyhill Incident, and the stamina gauge for running around takes ages to refill, meaning you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t. It’s baffling just how unbalanced everything is, and when you’re playing a survival horror, you need at least some kind of lifeline if you’re trying to survive.
With poor writing and acting that never delivers, unbalanced gameplay with zero support or any kind of tutorial, and alien threats that are never threatening, Greyhill Incident is a big misstep for the genre. I wanted to find something I liked, but it just became painful to play, even with a mildly promising start. Sometimes the environment looks pretty, but more often than not it’s just too dark. It’s littered with issues that are never resolved, and one of its only saving graces is the short runtime. With games like Amnesia: The Bunker and Layers of Fear releasing recently, there’s sadly just no reason to give this a chance.
Environments look OK
Mildly decent opening
Poor dialogue and acting
Lack of support
Weak stealth mechanics
Not scary in the slightest